…is whatever the hell she wants to be
I found these words while I was browsing Facebook, and posted them on the Clear Rock page last week. I wish I knew who the author was, so I could give proper credit. That post was noticed and liked by more people than any other post on my page, ever. I find that extraordinary, so I started to think about why it struck so many of us the way it did.
I think, at the root, is that insidious belief that we are never good enough. We don’t measure up. Even though many of us are wearing ourselves out to try to meet standards for our bodies, our finances, our families, and our entire lives.
But the target keeps moving. One article, headline or before and after photo will say that curves make you a real women, and skinny, stick figures just don’t cut it. Then we’ll read or hear about how being tight and toned are the new standard and if you aren’t muscular, you aren’t measuring up. But wait. Isn’t being thin still the ultimate reflection of a real woman? Do we really have the freedom to carry extra weight without judgment on our worth as women?
I was at a gathering recently, and a woman attended that hadn’t been around in a while. I was shocked at how many people said something about, “Boy oh boy has she gained weight.” Like she had committed a crime and all we could do was shake our heads in disbelief. The words “gained weight” sounded more like “stabbed her boss”. Heads shake.
At the other end of that, I know women who are ripped. They are lean and muscular and work hard at it. And there is a bundle of judgment for them as well. Obsessed. Care too much about fitness, spend too much time at the gym. Too muscular, not feminine, not curvy, shame shame.
There is no physique that shields us from judgment. Even if we get judged positively, it is still judgment. Better keep up that level of curviness, muscularity or thinness or else you will fall out of grace and be put into the unacceptable category.
Yet…a real women is whatever the hell she wants to be.
We have created this culture of unacceptance, yet we crave freedom to be who we are. I think I know how we can take back our freedom. But we need a revolution.
It must start with me. When I find myself judging a woman, especially her body, I have to remember that she is my sister. Her worth simply does not change with size and shape. She is precious and loved and doing her best. She is on the same path that I am, just perhaps at a different place on that path.
What I do to her, I do to me.
Anytime I find myself in judgment of my own body, I must remember I am part of a revolution that does not base a woman’s worth on size and shape. I am precious and loved. I am doing my best. I share this path with all my sisters, no matter where they are on the path.
“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.” – Steve Maraboli
“Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others. This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you're too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.” - Oprah